Add and Manage Student Contacts

[For all Staff] Learn how to add Parents, Family, Approved Pickups, & Emergency Contacts to student profiles on the web/mobile app.

Sabrina avatar
Written by Sabrina
Updated over a week ago

Adding student contacts to a student’s profile is a vital part of setting up brightwheel. A student's contact list determines which guardians will have access to their profile, what level of access, and how they can interact with their student and your program using brightwheel.

When adding student contacts - Administrators, Managers, and Lead Staff can choose from four contact types: Parent, Family, Approved Pickup, or Emergency Contact.


Student Contact Types & Permissions

Each contact type has a specific set of permissions and access to view student information. View our Contact Types resource to learn more.


Add Student Contacts

When first setting up brightwheel, there are two options for adding student contacts:

  • Upload in Bulk: The fastest and most convenient way to add student information is through our easy Roster Upload Tool

  • Add Manually by Student: To learn how to add these contacts manually, follow the steps outlined below on the web or in the app.

💡 When creating a student contact, it's recommended to setup their account with either an email address OR a mobile number to minimize errors. Entering either/or instead of both greatly reduces errors when adding parents. Parents can always add their own additional contact information later.

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Students page

  3. Select a student by clicking on their name

  4. Scroll down to the Contacts section

  5. Click + Add a contact

  6. Select the desired Contact Type from the drop-down

  7. Add the contact's information
    💡 Student contacts can be added with just their first and last names but won't receive invitations until an email address or phone number is provided.

  8. Click Save Contact

  9. Choose to send an invitation to join brightwheel now or at a later date

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section and click the + icon

  4. Select the Contact Type in the popup

  5. Add the contact's information
    💡 Student contacts can be added with just their first and last names but won't receive invitations until an email address or phone number is provided.

  6. Tap Save

  7. Choose to send an invitation to join brightwheel now or at a later date

Additional Insight on Student Contacts

  • For student contacts who are also staff members, refer to our resource on Using brightwheel as a Student Contact and Staff Member for setup instructions.

  • Mobile numbers must be valid US or Canadian numbers.

  • Emergency contacts only require a first and last name and a phone number, and they are not invited to create brightwheel accounts.


Add an Existing Contact to Additional Students

It's common for a student contact to be added to more than one student. Siblings may share the same contacts or a user could be a Parent for one student and an Approved Pickup for another. Contacts can be added to multiple students with the same account information.

  1. Log in to brightwheel on the web

  2. Click on My School

  3. Open the Students page

  4. Select a student by clicking on their name

  5. Scroll down to the Contacts section and click + Add a contact

  6. Jump to the Existing tab in the pop-up

  7. Select relationship of the student contact to that student

  8. Select or type the desired contact name from the drop-down list

  9. Click Save Contact

ℹ️ For parents who are already connected to a student's profile when the above action is taken, a notification will be issued via email to alert them that a new contact is also connected to that same student for transparency and security.


Edit and Remove Contacts

Once a contact is created in brightwheel with an email address or phone number, programs cannot modify the contact's name, email, or phone number any further; the contact controls their own information and can update it in their profile.

However, Admins, Managers, and Lead Staff can:

  • Adjust a student contacts user type if selected incorrectly, (i.e., Family contact that actually needed to be a Parent contact)

  • Remove a contact if their account information was entered incorrectly (i.e., typo in the email address) and needs to be re-added with the correct information

Follow the guidance provided below based on what is applicable.

Update Student Contact Type

  1. Log in to brightwheel on the web

  2. Click on My School

  3. Open the Students page

  4. Select a student by clicking on their name

  5. Scroll down to the Contacts section

  6. Click Edit in top right corner of the pane

  7. Click Update on the appropriate contact's row

  8. Use the Contact Type dropdown to select what's needed

  9. Click Save Contact

Remove Student Contact

Student contacts can be removed from a student's profile by Administrators, Managers, Lead Staff members, or Parent contacts with edit permissions. Removing a student contact severs the association with the student but does not delete their brightwheel account; they can still log in to view associated students or see a blank page with the brightwheel logo if no other connections exist.

💡 If a student contact is wanting to deactivate/delete their account completely, encourage them to contact brightwheel Support for further assistance.

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Students page

  3. Select a student by clicking on their name

  4. Scroll down to the Contacts section

  5. Click Edit in top right corner of the pane

  6. Click Remove on the appropriate contact's row

  7. Confirm the action by clicking Remove from the popup window

  1. From a room, select the desired student's name to open their profile

  2. Tap the icon on Android or Profile button on iOS to edit

    Scroll down the the CONTACTS section and tap the appropriate contact to open their profile

  3. At the bottom of the profile, tap Remove

  4. Tap Remove again to confirm this action


Common Errors

Contacts in a student's profile must be added and modified carefully to ensure the security of the student's personal information. It is common to receive an error message if the instructions outlined above are not followed. While most issues are easily resolved following the guidance below, contacting our support team may be necessary for deactivating old or duplicate accounts.

Error Message

Why this happens

How to correct it

The phone number and email belong to different accounts in brightwheel.

This error indicates that there is a mismatch between the email address and mobile phone number entered. This may mean that the contact has two accounts, one with their phone number and one with their email address.

Try adding the contact with ONLY their email address to see if this helps and suggest to the student contact to contact brightwheel Support for assistance with deactivating the account tied to their phone number so they can add it to their active email address account.

[Contact name] is already a contact for [Student name].

This indicates that the contact being added is already added as a contact for that student.

If the intent is to change the contact type, simply edit the student contact's profile and choose the desired contact type.

This email belongs to a teacher account. Please use a different email to create their parent account.

This means that the email address of the contact being added is already associated with a staff/teacher account.

  • If the staff account is no longer in use, contact our Support team and let them know the account associated with that email address should be deactivated so they can use it for a parent account.


FAQs

Why can’t a student contact (Parent, Family, Approved Pickup) see Messages?

This may mean the contact was not setup correctly.

  • Parent contacts can see messages from admins/staff and also respond to messages. If they are reporting they cannot, encourage them to reach out to brightwheel Support for further investigation.

  • Family contacts cannot see any messages from admins/staff but can send messages from their account.

  • Approved Pickups cannot see or send messages.

  • Emergency Contacts cannot see or send messages and do not have access to login to brightwheel.

Double check what contact type is being used and follow the steps above to update the contact type if needed.

Why can’t a student contact (Parent, Family, Approved Pickup) see Billing?

This may mean that they have been added as a Family or Approved Pickup contact but not yet added as a brightwheel payer.

When a Parent contact is added, they are automatically added as a payer. But Family or Approved Pickups need to be manually added as payers following these instructions. Double check if the Family or Approved Pickup contact is added as payer following the steps in the link above to resolve this.

The student contact has two accounts, one with an email and one with a phone number. Can I merge them?

While it is not possible to merge these accounts, it is possible to disconnect and deactivate one account and then add the information to the desired one. The contact should reach out to brightwheel Support and ask to have one of their accounts deactivated so that they can then add that contact information to the account they intend to use.

If the user needs to utilize brightwheel as a student contact and staff, they will want to maintain separate accounts and switch between both. Review our resource here for more information on how their accounts should be set up.

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